The release of Apple Pay China T-Union cards this week with the iOS 13.4.1 update was accompanied with a new Apple Pay China transit page that completely rebrands Apple Pay China as a transit experience. Considering the popularity of QR Code use in China and the slow speed of the China T-Union PBOC protocol, it makes sense for Apple to go all in promoting Express Transit: it’s the only real advantage Apple Pay has over QR Code AliPay and WeChat Pay.
The rollout was also accompanied by some Hong Kong anguish and mocking of the Apple Pay Octopus delay that has become a sad joke. Karen Chiu of SCMP drily noted that, “Apple Pay users in Hong Kong are out of luck,” and Octopus Cards Limited is just a big tease. Ouch!
There was sarcasm from others as well, best seen in the comments section of a trite lazy MacRumors piece Apple Pay’s Express Transit Feature Now Supported in 275 Chinese Cities that appears mostly lifted from an equally trite Benjamin Mayo 9to5 Mac post, both borrowing from the Karen Chiu piece without giving credit, so lazy that MacRumors used a MTA OMNY transit gate picture for a China transit story.
The comments are golden however and way more interesting than the story post. They illustrate not only frustration with the Apple Pay Octopus delay waiting game, but also note the seismic shift of Hong Kong in 2019:
Still no news for (Apple Pay Octopus) support in Hong Kong
>At least we know they are testing it. It has more to do with delays on stupid Map Transit
>Really can’t wait to use Octopus for Apple Pay Transit in Hong Kong! Its seriously taking them way too long to implement. This feature was rumored for so long and was already leaked before iOS 13 was released last year, yet we still do not have it.
>>They (Apple) are basically neglecting the HK market. Unacceptable to take so long
>>Hong Kong is so behind on this. Octopus Card company is flexing its monopoly power to the fullest extent. They work with Samsung in exclusive deals so Samsung users can use their phone to pay.
>>>Exactly. Totally unacceptable. At one point, I considered switching to Samsung just for this feature. (of course its impossible to climb over the high walls of the apple ecosystem garden, especially iCloud)
Hong Kong has delusions of grandeur because of its status as a place to buy Apple products for mainlanders when they weren’t so readily available on the mainland… as a market nowadays, it isn’t large at all. The focus is rightly on bigger markets.Apple Pay’s Express Transit Feature Now Supported in 275 Chinese Cities
>Bruh Hong Kong is jewel of the East, so it certainly deserves Apple’s focus on the market. And mainlanders can buy Apple products on the mainland, they are not welcomed in HK.
>>Perhaps in the past… If the various signs of HK fast losing its foothold isn’t obvious, I dunno what else is. Signs of big brands leaving HK, newer brands going direct to China and bypass HK, and months of protests+riots+bombing driving foreigners to rethink or left amidst COVID-19, etc…..
>>Shall see if HK is still relevant after the global COVID-19 is more or less over and as we march straight into a global recession.
Is there any good new out there? The latest rumors now say Apple Pay Octopus will launch in May on
iOS 13.4.5 iOS 13.5 that may, or may not be, the iOS release for the rumored iPhone SE (edit: iPhone SE went on sale with iOS 13.4).
The waiting game continues.
Apple Pay Octopus Waiting Game Timeline
- September 2017: Apple releases global NFC iPhone 8/X and Apple Watch Series 3 setting the stage for Octopus support
- December 2017: OCL launches Smart Octopus on Samsung Pay
- December 2018: Apple Pay Octopus in beta test for possible Chinese New Year 2019 launch in tandem with Hong Kong Transit for Apple Maps.
- January 2019: Samsung updates Smart Octopus on Samsung Pay tagline from ‘only’ to ‘first’
- June 2019: Apple Pay Server JSON code references ‘Octopus’ for iOS 13
- July 2019: OCL announces Apple Pay Octopus ‘coming soon’
- September 2019: OCL CEO Sunny Cheung says Octopus will not launch with iOS 13 debut but “start as soon as possible within the year.”
- December 2019: OCL updates press announcement saying Apple Pay Octopus will launch ‘later in 2020’, releases Octopus App v5.8 with iPhone + iOS 13 NFC recharge support for plastic Octopus cards
- March 2020: iOS 13.4 released, no update from OCL
- April 2020: iOS 13.4.1 released with Apple China T-Union cards for Shenzhen and Beijing, no update from OCL.
- May 2020: Latest rumors say Apple Pay Octopus will launch with iOS 13.5, the last major iOS 13 update with possible release date in late May.← Here